Hi! My name is Audrey Stetson. I started doing genealogy almost 45 years ago. I have always had an interest in my whole family, but, when my first son was born, I had trouble completing the family member names in his baby book. That’s when I started researching, and, finding out as much about my family history as possible. At that time, there were no reference books, or how to books, to tell you where and how to look.
There were no computer software programs to help you organize your information, and there were no conferences or courses to help you learn anything about genealogy. I had to teach myself where to look for many years. I interviewed a lot of relatives and wrote to the ones I was unable to interview in person, to obtain as much information as I could.
Slowly my list of ancestors, and their information began to grow. Because there were no software programs, I would write my information on paper, and tape the various family members together…something those new to researching don’t have to worry about doing anymore.
Over the years, many genealogy software programs have become available to purchase, there are now numerous conferences each year, many genealogy society groups that people have the option to join, and numerous genealogy courses made available, both in classes, and on the internet. There are many sites on the internet to use for researching your family, and subscriptions to sites to keep growing your ancestry and make connections with other family members.
Each new year, I try to increase my knowledge of where and how to look for sources to find information I am looking for. I enjoy taking online classes, listening to podcasts, being an active member of my local genealogical society, and reading many books. I also enjoy connecting with others interested in this same passion of mine.
Because there was not anywhere for me to initially find information, I enjoy helping others with their research now. Many people are still stumped where to begin searching, or, how to search their family.
I provide resources, tips, conference dates, software updates, etc. to others. Because different people have different preferences, I have three genealogy social media groups to disseminate this information to others who are interested.
The first is on LinkedIn, called “Genealogy…Beyond the brick walls” (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4102086/).
I have members from all over the world between these three groups. Each person has their own challenges in their research, but I try to assist them all I am able.
If you have an interest in genealogy and family history research, I welcome you to join one, or all, of my groups. If you are stuck with a ‘brick wall’ I can offer some assistance to help you get through it.
I do not charge any fees for any assistance I provide. I just enjoy helping others with their passion. I have found that sometimes it just takes having someone else look at the information you already have, to help you get to the next step in researching. Also, sometimes if you step back, and take a short break, you get a renewed ability to see something you may have previously missed.
The best advice I can give anyone is, “Don’t give up”. Somewhere, someplace, the information you are seeking is out there. Have patience.
Continue learning all you can about where and how to look for information, join a local genealogical society, read books, both about genealogy, and about the history of the areas you are researching, and take whatever classes you are able to. If you are worried about the cost, there are several free ones available on the internet. Don’t just try to obtain the birth and death dates of everyone.
Try to learn where, and how, they lived, and what their occupations were. Determine if they had siblings, and if so, who they were. Research what their religion was, if they had any medical issues, why they may have had to move, etc. Do not just assume the information you obtain is correct.
Try to find sources with documentation to prove or disprove the information. No information is too little to know. The more you learn about them, the more of a complete family history you will have. At the very least, read some genealogy blogs, and listen to some genealogical podcasts. You will gain a wealth of information from these valuable resources.
Best of luck in your research, and feel free to contact me anytime.